Top critical review
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You've pretty much played this game already
on October 1, 2013
I'm probably one of 2K's more involved consumers. I check out the tweets, I follow the developer videos, I check out the YouTube commentators, the forums, the blogs (ie. Chris Smoove, Operation Shill, etc.). So I knew that 2K14's graphics would be relatively unchanged; I knew that the presentation was basically a blue version of 2K13; and that generally, PS3/360 would get the short end of the stick, with next-gen around the corner.
If you let the internet tell it, everybody should "just getz teh next-gen verzionz!!1!" (nevermind that $400-$500 device you need in order to play it). I'm not sure when I'll get a next-gen system, so for the foreseeable future, this was my only option for a 2014 basketball game.
I had been reluctant about purchasing this game at full price, but ultimately I decided to take a chance on the pre-release rumblings of how great 2K14 "feels". I'll admit that the defense has improved. So far, it seems both challenging and rewarding. You aren't helpless in the paint anymore, sticking to your man on drives seems to be easier, and the opponent's makes don't seem as cheap.
As for offense: having shooting/dribbling determined by stick pressure is pretty annoying. It's not impossible to get used to, but it makes dribbling less rewarding for me. I just want to break my man down, and not have to worry about whether I'll press too hard and launch a 30-footer. But on a positive note, I like that players seem to have a bit more "grip" to them. It doesn't feel as much like you're being yanked around by animations - which, in turn, makes slashing more fun. Other than that, I really don't know what else to say about this game that hasn't been said about 2K13.
While it is an improvement, it's definitely not what I'd consider to be $60 worth of improvement. I understand now why 2K decided to not release a demo. And I'm sure they'll understand why I'm throwing this game on the used market in about 20 minutes. It feels more like a really good patch, than a fresh new product.
Unless you're a masochist, I recommend waiting on a 40% sale (at least), or just playing 2K13 with an updated roster. And this is coming from somebody who faithfully gets 2K on Day 1 and generally disagrees with people who say annual sports games "are the same every year."